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So what are S.M.A.R.T. goals? Let’s explore the meaning of S.M.A.R.T. in this context further…

 

Specific goals identify what we want to achieve on a practical level and are often grounded in weekly participation of your chosen pursuit. For example, a vague goal would be to become a pop star. Although becoming a pop star is an admirable goal we need to think of how we are going to achieve that and add these interim steps to our main goal. A specific goal in order to achieve chart success might therefore be to take weekly singing lessons and practice singing exercises for thirty minutes a day. Once we have specific goals we immediately feel energized as we know on a practical level what needs to be done.

 

Goals also need to be measurable; ideally goals should be measured in the short-term and medium-term. For example, you can easily measure whether you have been attending weekly singing lessons and practicing each day. Every six months you can review whether you have made progress by seeing if you have attended any open mike nights or have started writing your own lyrics. The main objective is to outline how and when we will measure our progress. This helps us adjust our goals when necessary and keeps us motivated down the line.

 

In order to ensure our motivation remains high it is vital that our goals are achievable. This needn’t mean thinking small, but it is essential that we plan the steps of our goals methodically and that we allow a realistic time-frame to achieve those goals. When our goals are truly achievable they will cease to be the dreams and fantasies they set out as and will start to appear more feasible, thereby increasing our drive to achieve them.

 

Most of us struggle with creating realistic goals but once we realize what realistic in this context means, setting realistic goals becomes much easier. Having realistic goals does not mean we have to abandon our dreams, it simply means we need to be able (and willing) to put in the amount of time and effort necessary. This often means re-prioritising so less important tasks or activities are shunned in favor of working on our goal. This process can be challenging and involves shifting our focus from short-term pleasures to longer term gains. A great way to attain this shift in focus is to reward ourselves along the way when we achieve a step towards our goal. For example, a shopping trip or meal out after you perform at your very first open mike night.

 

Lastly, our goals should have a time-frame. When we attach a time-frame to our goals we immediately have a sense of urgency and importance. Psychologically we become more geared for action and, as a consequence, more motivated. When choosing a time-frame it is essential to understand how much time we need in order to reach our goal. Looking at others who have already achieved our goals is often a good way of finding out the amount of time required and can give us an insight into how long it may take us to reach the goal for ourselves. For example, many famous singers have taken singing lessons for ten or more years, have been performing regularly and have found an agent. Once we have an accurate picture of how much time is involved we then need to work out if we have both the time and resources necessary. If our motivation is strong enough we can usually shift our use of time and resources to fit more in line with our new goal.

 

Are your goals S.M.A.R.T.? Have you discovered a dream you could make into a S.M.A.R.T. goal? After writing out your S.M.A.R.T. goal how did you feel? Empowered, motivated, inspired? Please comment and share your experiences with our community to gain insight, encouragement and support.

 

Exercises:

 

  1. Pick the dream that appeals to you most from either a match between the two lists from last week or a dream created by your interests and passions. Make it into a Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-scaled goal using the principles outlined above and write it out. 
  2. Enter when you will devote time to working on your goal into your calendar or diary.